Vincent Edward Mendoza
One of the more intriguing and sought after prospects for Arizona is 2017 west coast product Jalen Hill out of Corona, CA. The power forward stands 6’9 weighing in at 210 pounds (USA 16U measurements) and just finished a tour of Italy where he led the 16U USA team to the gold medal finishing with an amazing performance where, in the tournament, he converted on a whopping 88% of his field goal attempts.
During his trip overseas, PGU caught up with Jalen’s father George Hill to discuss Jalen’s overall game and what we can expect to see from him moving forward.
What makes Jalen a great prospect for college coaches is that he is extremely young for his class. Heading into his junior year Hill is only 15 years of age where most opponents he faces are older than him.
From his freshmen to sophomore year Mr. Hill talked about a few things that stood out in his mind. “The major difference is his motor. His motor is tremendous which aids in his rebounding, defense and ability to run the floor on both ends,” he said, “Jalen is a very mobile big that is working on being a versatile player.”
During his recent trip to Italy Mr. Hill saw how Jalen was able to benefit from the experience.
“Jalen has matured a great deal from Team USA,” he said. “Being so young for his class he gained experience, which is huge for his development. It honed in on leadership on and off the court, putting the team first and competing at a high level. At that level you have to give it your all every day, every play.”
“I feel that being young for his class helps prepare him for college, therefore, I look at this as a benefit because playing against older players (sometimes as much as three years older) he has shown that he can hold his own,” he said.
With Jalen turning 16 years old in December, his age has benefited him through the process so far.
“He still has a lot of room for growth both physically and mentally. It is scary to think about what he would look and play like when he turns 17 or 18 years old,” he said.
As Jalen heads into the AAU circuit he looks to work on some things offensively and defensively.
“Jalen is very athletic and agile for his height and age. Offensively, working on his post moves, dribbling and his jumper and on defense he is solid,” he said.
Jalen is most comfortable on the high post and short corner area but Mr. Hill doesn’t consider his son a prototype back to the basket big.
Sean Miller has proven time and time again his ability to recruit players who play on both sides of the court and Hill is no different.
“He has the ability to guard multiple positions and he would like to get to a point where he can guard any position,” he said. For now, Jalen has developed great instincts especially from the weak side where he can use his “bounce” as he is already a terrific shot blocker.
PGU also talked about the prospects of college and schools that he is considering.
“The exposure that a school can provide is most important,” he said. “Players like Jalen do aspire to play in the NBA, certainly, so playing on a big stage and against top competition is important.”